If your loved one is depressed, You might encounter a spectrum of difficult feelings of your own, such as worry, disappointment, and anger. You may be confused and even scared at times. And if you have never has depression yourself, you might have a hard time understand what it feels like. You may not know much about the causes of depression, how it’s diagnosed, or what treatment options are available.
Depression is a serious disorder but it is treatable. it affects so many people, from young to old. It gets in the way of everyday life, causing enormous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it but also affecting everyone around them.
There are several steps you can follow to educate yourself about your loved one’s experience with depression, but you also need to look after your own mental health and well-being. Below are 10 things you can do to when you see you loved one is depressed.
Take Care of Yourself
You can’t help and support someone else if you are feeling overwhelmed and depleted yourself. There’s a natural tendency to want to solve the problems of people we love, but you can’t regulate someone else’s depression. You can, however, manage how well you look after yourself. It’s just as significant for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so go for your own health.
Occasionally take some time to step back from the situation and replenish. Make sure your own health and happiness are at full capacity before you try to assist someone who has depression. You won’t do your friend or family member any good if you fall under the pressure of trying to support. Whenever your own needs are taken care of, you’ll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Tell whatever is in your mind. You may not want to tell what is your mind when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, an honest conversation will help the relationship in the long run. If you’re struggling in silence and letting bitterness build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently tell about how you’re feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
Take care of your own life. While it may not be possible to bring changes in you daily activity, while caring for your friend or relative, do your best to keep appointments and plans with friends. If your depressed loved one is unable to go on an outing or trip you had planned, ask a friend to join you instead.
Set boundaries. Of course, you want to help, but you can only do so much. Your health will suffer if you let your life be controlled by your loved one’s depression. You can’t be a caretaker round the clock without paying a psychological price. To avoid burnout and resentment, set clear limits on what you are willing and able to do. You are not your loved one’s therapist, so don’t take on that responsibility.
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When your loved one is depressed, the most helpful thing you can offer to them going through a hard time is your presence. Just providing a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on can be very comforting. Be patient and let your loved one know you are there for them.
You may decide to share what you’ve learned about depression in your research, but One of the most important things you can do to help a friend or relative with depression is to give your unconditional love and support throughout the treatment process.
This involves being compassionate and patient, which is not always easy when dealing with the negativity, hostility, and moodiness that go hand in hand with depression. And you can tell them that you understand depression is not their fault and that they are not lazy, weak, or worthless.
Have realistic expectations. It can be disheartening to watch a depressed friend or family member suffer, especially if progress is slow. Having patience is important. Even with optimal treatment, recovery from depression doesn’t happen overnight.
Lead by example. Motivate the person to lead a healthier, mood-boosting lifestyle by doing it yourself: maintain a positive outlook, eat better, avoid alcohol and drugs, exercise, and lean on others for support.
Encourage activity. If your loved one is depressed, invite them to join you in uplifting activities, like going to a funny movie or having dinner at a favorite restaurant. Exercise is especially helpful, so try to get your depressed loved one moving. Going on walks together is one of the easiest options. Be gently and lovingly persistent—don’t get discouraged or stop asking.
Provide whatever assistance the person needs (and is willing to accept). Help your loved one make and keep appointments, research treatment options, and stay on schedule with any treatment prescribed.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Depression can be stressful both for the person going through it and those who love them. Remember that your feelings are a valid response to what can be, at times, a challenging situation to navigate
It might be helpful to find a caretaker support group, talk with an old and close friend, or meet a counselor. The important thing is to express your frustrations rather than allowing them to build up.
When your loved is depressed, it’s alright for you to feel frustrated, irritated, and distressed. It is very important, however, that you don’t let these feelings to fester and grow.
Depression may lessen your energy levels to the point where you feel too tired to talk or even be around a person. It can also make you think that you are not deserving anything decent, including a relationship. These feelings may force you to withdraw, but any distance between you and your partner, or other family members and friends, can leave you feeling terrible.
Therapists, counselors, and support groups are not just for people with depression. Going for professional assistance for yourself can help you feel supported, discharge your frustrations, and make you more conscious of your own emotional needs.
Therapy can also give answers to any questions you have in your mind about coping with the depression of a loved one. Even if you don’t go the mental health professional route, it’s vital to lean on your support network during this tough time.
We know that the idea of being open and truthful about your depression may be uneasy, but it is an extremely useful conversation to have.
Get the Facts on Depression
There are reliable resources on the internet that provide facts about depression, including symptoms and treatment. Reading up on what depression can feel like as well as the myths, misconceptions, and stigma around mental illness, can help you better understand your loved one’s experience.
There is no set experience of depression. Every individual has different symptoms, their depression is caused by various factors, and it affects them at different moments.
Taking the time to find out about depression enable you to get a better knowledge of what your spouse is going through, and help you to observe when they are probably struggling. Here are some reliable resources you can follow.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
- Mental Health America
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- National Institute of Mental Health
It is easy and simple to take certain symptoms of depression to heart, especially if the person is negative and unfavorable towards you or seems to be distancing themselves from you and others. Instead of taking these things personally, keep in mind that their behavior will mostly be a symptom of their mental health condition.
Avoid Judgment and Blame
If your loved one is depressed and no longer able to do the activities they used to, including working or helping around the house, you may feel like they are lazy. When you get frustrated, try to remember that someone who is depressed isn’t lazy—they’re ill. Everyday activities like cleaning the house paying bills, or feeding the dog may seem overwhelming, if not impossible, to someone who is depressed.
If your loved one’s responsibilities around the house are piling up, you may not be able to take them on yourself.
In addition to resisting the urge to blame your loved one, try not to blame yourself either. Know that it’s OK if you need to ask for help
Love Them Unconditionally
If your loved one is depressed, they often feel a deep sense of guilt. They may think that they are a burden to those around them. Sometimes, they even begin to believe that their loved ones would be “better off” with them. One of the ways you can fight these feelings is by regularly showing and telling them that you love them unconditionally.
When you become discouraged or angry, it’s important to reassure them that you are frustrated with their illness, not them. When you care about someone with depression and are trying to find the best way to support, it’s important that you have some assistance yourself. Whether it comes from other people in your life or a support group for caregivers, taking care of yourself not only enhances your ability to support your loved one but also sets a positive example of good self-care..
Offer your loved one hope in whatever form they are able to accept it. It may be a faith in God or another kind of higher power, their children or pets, or anything in their life that makes them want to keep living.
Know what matters to your loved one and find ways to remind them of it when they feel down and hopeless. Be sure to remind yourself of these things, too.
Many people with depression take medication, if not several. One empirical way that you have when your loved one is depressed is by learning how the medication works, what the side effects are, and knowing signs to look for that would demonstrate the treatment is not working or that your loved one has stopped taking a medication (i.e., withdrawal symptoms).
You can also assist them remember to refill prescriptions, keep their pills overseen, make sure they are taking their medication as prescribed, and reassuring them that they are not “crazy” for needing to take it.